Summit fortified against demonstrators

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A ring of steel has been erected around a casino complex in Melbourne where an economic summit targeted by protesters opens today.

A ring of steel has been erected around a casino complex in Melbourne where an economic summit targeted by protesters opens today.

The Crown Casino, venue of the three-day meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), was transformed into a fortress yesterday. Scores of armed officers patrolled inside steel barricades, while a helicopter hovered overhead and police divers in the adjacent Yarra river checked drainage ducts leading under the building.

An anti-globalisation alliance of environmentalists, trade unionists and anarchists has pledged to disrupt the conference, which will be attended by dozens of senior politicians and businessmen, including the Microsoft chairman, Bill Gates, and the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard.

Police expect some 15,000 demonstrators in the city today, and fear a possible repetition of the violence that marred last November's World Trade Organisation talks in Seattle. Protesters have gathered under the banner of an organisation called S-11, after today's date.

They say that free trade and globalisation are widening the divide between the world's rich and poor and have vowed to shut down the WEF, which they call "a club of the world's richest 1,000 corporations".

Three days of blockades, music and street parties are planned.

Comments